Monday, March 27, 2006

Trust God for the Impossible (i.e. Ridiculous)

God's great desire for us, His “Grand Scheme” is to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-39). One incredible way He does this is by putting us in impossible situations so He can teach us to trust Him and He can show off His greatness.

If you're not in one now, you have or will be in impossible situation that only God can handle. A pinch in which God Himself has clearly put you: family crises, financial stresses, marriage difficulties, health scares...

When God places you in faith-stretching spots, remember who He is: the LORD, the sovereign I Am. Recall what He's done in the past, has promised to do and what He is able to do since He is God. Seeing Him for who He is, helps us trust and obey (read Isaiah 40).

A great prompt towards this is an episode in the life of Prophet Jeremiah (read Jeremiah 32-33). God called him to do what seemed absurd, utter nonsense. As Jeremiah laid out his concern before Lord in prayer, we hear God ask: I'm the LORD, the God of all flesh, is anything too hard for Me?

The setting is rich and interesting. Jeremiah was a Prophet to southern kingdom – Judah. He faithfully proclaimed God's word: Judgment is coming because of the gross sin of the people & leaders. Give up your resistance, God will cause the enemy to win.

The King – for some odd reason - did not like this message, so he put the messenger, Jeremiah, under guard. While there, Jeremiah is told by the LORD that his cousin was coming to offer to sale him some land - family property he had first legal right to buy.

Small snag: it was not the best time to buy land. The nation is about to be overthrown and the people scattered to winds. Buying land before a successful invasion of an enemy is... trying to be nice here... unwise.

This was an overthrow Jeremiah had prophesied for years. Investing in real estate seems odd, at best. Yet, God called him to do just that.

Despite his own reasoning and doubts, Jeremiah faithfully obeys God. He purchases the land in a very public way and gives a copy of the deed to his scribe / helper Baruch, instructing him to seal it up for that day in future when God would bring His people back to land.

After making this odd deal, Jeremiah prays. It is a great prayer - full of faith, rich in remembering what God has done (Jeremiah 32:16-25).

Finishing his marvelous prayer, Jeremiah brings up the odd thing God's asked him to do. Lord, I know you're great, powerful, merciful and awesome. Lord, I know you have done great signs & wonders. But, the signs seem to be pointing backwards and I'm wondering what You're up to. About this land deal...

Sound familiar? Ever wondered or dared to ask God what He was up to? Lord, I know you want me to spend more time with family, but these bills, responsibilities... You want me to keep myself pure, but the temptation's too great. Besides, You put these feelings and desires in me.

I know you don't want me to marry an unbeliever, but You can't want me to stay single. I know you hate divorce, but you can't want me to stay married to this insensitive jerk. I know you want me to give, serve, forgive, love, help, but... You are expecting the impossible.

The Lord responds to us the same way He did to Jeremiah. The LORD quoted Jeremiah back to him, saying: Behold, I'm the Lord, the God of all people, is anything to hard for Me?

Yes, Jeremiah, I am asking you to do the seemingly absurd, but remember who I am, what I can do, and what I have promised. Yes, I'm going to discipline My people by sending them into captivity but, I'll re-gather them, return and replant My people in the land. They will again serve Me and I will be their God.

History tells us some 70 years later, God did restore His people to Land (see Haggai, 2 Chronicles 36 and Ezra 1, 2).

Here's the Point: if God is leading you to do what seems absurd, the most absurd thing is to forget who God is. He's the LORD, the great I AM, the God of all flesh - not a local deity, a regional god, a created idol.

He is the God who has revealed Himself to us. The God who loves and saves His people, makes and keeps His Covenants and overthrows those who oppose Him.

Yes, He is the God who sometimes calls us to invest in the impossible, trust for the ridiculous and wait for the miraculous. He says to you too: Yes, My child, I am calling you to do that which I've shown you. It seems impossible, but remember who I am - the LORD.

Take Heart! If God's calling us to do impossible, He must be in it. If our plans are do-able - who needs God? Yet, God is calling for us to call out to Him to show us the impossible (Jer. 33:3). Obeying God in seeming nonsensical acts is not dumb, but a sign of humble obedience – and its smart too!

Okay, I admit it, in the abstract, objective realm, we agree without hesitation that nothing is too hard for God. Yet, on a personal, subjective level, when it has to do with our daily lives - well, we're not always sure He can pull if off. Or that He will for us. Others maybe, but us?

A warning here: beware of a sneaky, backward pride here. We think we will be the first exception in all of history. God will think US so special – or vile - that He'll break His promises to disappoint us. Let’s not flatter ourselves! God's not going to blow His perfect record just for you.

When in impossible situations that God has orchestrated, the best place to look is not at the situation, but God. Focus is everything. God gets our attention so that we'll look at Him.

When God calls on you to do the ridiculous, realize He wants you to remember Who He is, what He's done and to trust. He is the God who does more than we think or ask (Ephesians 2:20). This is what it means to be a person of faith.

God is looking for chances to show off; to the world and us. So, He occasionally backs us into Red Seas, let’s us step out of the boat on the water. When He puts you in such binds, He can and will get you out. Why? Because He is the LORD, the God of everyone and everything, nothing is too hard for Him.


John Frye said...

For Julie and I right now, your post is very, very encouraging. These words of yours truly helped, "Here's the Point: if God is leading you to do what seems absurd, the most absurd thing is to forget who God is. He's the LORD, the great I AM, the God of all flesh - not a local deity, a regional god, a created idol.

He is the God who has revealed Himself to us. The God who loves and saves His people, makes and keeps His Covenants and overthrows those who oppose Him."

Thanks, bro'!

Kerry Doyal said...

It is an honor to be of encouragement to you & your beloved

With respect,


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Brandi said...

Thanks for the post! I just ran across it on google. I am praying for the impossible right now! I'm adopting from Liberia and about to approach some very wealthy people I know and ask them to drop everything and go to Liberia in a couple of months to pray about supporting the relief work. Everyone says that these people will never go, that their schedule won't allow it; thanks for reminding me that if God's calling them to go, He'll bring them there!


kenyarockfilmfestivaljournal said...

You have no idea how encouraging this is to me. Thank you so much for posting this. May God bless you!

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